Thursday, March 16, 2006

I guess I don't agree with Bill Gates or Craig Barrett

Craig Barrett doesn't like MIT's $100 laptop, and neither, it seems, does Bill Gates. Unfortunately, Gates has to incur the wrath of the blogosphere for his opinion.

I actually like the $100 laptop. I think it is a great idea and can do a lot of good in developing countries. The very valid question is, if you're dying of disease and malnutrition, why do you need a laptop? These are excellent questions to which I reply a laptop is of course not a panacea to save the developing world, but access to such technology, and more important the Internet, can help improve the overall economy of developing countries and raise the overall standard of living (computers haven’t done much for the rural poor in India, but they have helped raise the country overall into one of the world’s most dynamic economies.)

A device for developing countries, be it MIT’s $100 laptop or anything else, needs to be simple and resilient. My vision is that they are used as wind-up kiosks to help villages access government services. With a direct line to these services, villages will be spared dealing with corrupt local bureaucrats who are, IMHO, a chief obstacle to development (and I speak with some experience here).

The “one-laptop-per-child” is a loft goal, but I agree, I’m not sure the MIT $100 laptop does the trick… but you never know.

Gates and PR: He still doesn't get it | | CNET

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